Graduate Programs Brochure

brochure cover: Elliott School Graduate Programs

If you are looking for a vibrant academic community — one with a global perspective and a commitment to the public good — then look no further than Washington, DC, and GW’s Elliott School of International Affairs.

SPS Research Institute

Institute for Security and Conflict Studies

Security Policy Studies M.A. Program

photo: Joanna Spear
Joanna Spear, Program Director

Security Policy Studies (SPS) is a policy-oriented master's degree program focusing on international security issues, with a particular emphasis on the security challenges for the 21st century and how to respond to them. These challenges include but are not limited to: weapons of mass destruction proliferation, transnational threats, terrorism, changing regional power dynamics, weak and failing states, international crime, effectively linking security and development, and ensuring U.S. national security.

The curriculum provides strong grounding in the national security and defense policy-making process. Students choose two specific concentrations — which can range from transnational security issues to conflict resolution to defense analysis. Students also have the option of emphasizing a particular region, such as East Asia, the Middle East, or Latin America, by selecting a regional field as one of their two concentrations.

The program's faculty includes internationally recognized authorities in international security, defense policy, foreign policy, the national security policy process, and regional and transnational security issues. Through its academic and professional skills development courses this program can open doors to future employment in the security policy institutions of the federal government, in the private sector, in international organizations such as NATO, and in the many think tanks and non-profit institutions engaged in security policy work.

Recent International Security Videos

Leadership in International Affairs: Lessons Learned

February 11, 2015

Michèle Flournoy, Co-Founder and CEO of Center for a New American Security and former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy (2009-12), discusses some of the most challenging foreign policy issues facing the United States and the world.

The Middle East in Transition

January 30, 2015

In a series of interviews, Ambassador Edward W. "Skip" Gnehm, Jr., Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Affairs at GW, discusses the current state of affairs in the Middle East including the recent leadership transitions in Yemen and Saudi Arabia.

In the News

Stop Putting Afghanistan on a Deadline

March 24, 2015

Stephen Biddle argues that “withdrawal timetables only delay failure; the U.S. should stay in or get out [of Afghanistan] now” in this op-ed on DefenseOne.

How Russia Today is using YouTube

March 23, 2015

Robert Orttung, Elizabeth Nelson, and Anthony Livshen co-authored a post about how Russia's state-funded news network is using YouTube to "spread the Kremlin message" about Ukraine on The Washington Post blog “The Monkey Cage.”

Iran Nuclear Negotiations

March 22, 2015

Douglas Shaw was interviewed by C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" about the latest developments in the nuclear negotiations with Iran taking place in Switzerland.